D. H. Lawrence was an inspired and controversial writer who, among other things, championed the regeneration of the individual through sexual love. He was the pioneer of modern psychological fiction, unsurpassed in powerful depiction of human passions and conflicts. E. M. Forster called him, “the greatest imaginative novelist of our time.”
Lawrence’s stormy and controversial affair with and subsequent marriage to Frieda von Richthoffen, the mother of three small children, became a prime source for his fiction. He also utilized the enduring battle between his doting mother and coal miner father.
Lawrence championed the “free,” modern woman and her right to an independent existence, and he criticized both men and women--the former for promulgating stereotypes of women and the latter for trying to live up to them. Lawrence maintained, “The problem of the day is the establishment of a new relation . . . between men and women.”
D[avid] H[erbert] Lawrence (1885-l930) -- English novelist, poet, dramatist and essayist who was described at his death as "the greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.”
Since beauty is a question of experience, not of concrete form, no one can be as acutely ugly as a really pretty woman. When the sex-glow is missing, and she moves in ugly coldness, how hideous she seems, and all the worse for her externals of prettiness. -- New Sex Versus Loveliness
When a woman is thoroughly herself, she is being what her type of man wants her to be. When a woman is hysterical it’s because she doesn’t quite know what to be, which pattern to follow, which man’s picture of woman to live up to. -- New Give Her a Pattern
as there are many men in the world, there are many masculine theories of what
women should be. .
. . The Romans
produced a theory or ideal of the matron, which fitted in very nicely with the
Roman property lust. “Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion.”--So Caesar’s
wife kindly proceeded to be above it, no matter how far below it the Caesar
fell. Later gentlemen like Nero produced the “fast” theory of woman, and later
ladies were fast enough for everybody. Dante arrived with a chaste and
untouched Beatrice, and chaste and untouched Beatrices began to march
self-importantly through the centuries. The Renaissances discovered the learned
woman, and learned women buzzed mildly into verse and prose. Dickens invented
the child-wife, so child-wives have swarmed ever since. George Eliot imitated
this pattern, and it became confirmed. The noble woman, the pure spouse, the
devoted mother took the field, and was simply worked to death. . . .There are, of course, other
types. Capable men produce the capable woman ideal. Doctors produce the capable
nurse. Businessmen produce the capable secretary. And so you get all sorts. You
can produce the masculine sense of honour . . . in women, if you want to.
are two aspects to women. There is the demure and the dauntless. Men have loved
to dwell . . . on the demure maiden whose
inevitable reply is: Oh, yes, if you please, kind sir! The demure maiden, the
demure spouse, the demure mother ‑ this is still the ideal. A few
maidens, mistresses and mothers are demure. A few pretend to be. But the vast
majority are not. And they don’t pretend to be. We don’t expect a girl
skillfully driving her car to be demure, we expect her to be dauntless. What
good would demure and maidenly Members of Parliament be, inevitably responding:
Oh, yes, if you please, kind sir! .... . The girl who has got to make her way in life has got to be dauntless,
and if she has a pretty, demure manner with it, then lucky girl. She kills two
birds with two stones.
are the women who are cocksure, and the women who are hensure. A really
up-to-date woman is a cocksure woman. She doesn’t have a doubt nor a qualm.
She is the modern type. Whereas the old-fashioned demure woman was sure as a
hen is sure, that is, without knowing anything about it. She went quietly and
busily clucking around, laying the eggs and mothering the chickens in a kind of
anxious dream that still was full of sureness. But not mental sureness. Her
sureness was a physical condition, very soothing, but a condition out of which
she could easily be startled or frightened.